Visual CWR Validator - What we have learned from uploaded files

In December 2017, we have released Visual CWR Validator, a tool that makes a CWR file much more readable and points out most of the errors. It was later extended with a CWR Repair Tool, a tool that can fix most common issues in CWR files. We stopped saving uploaded files on 24th of May 2018, a day before GDPR came into effect. This article talks about files uploaded within this period.


We have seen very different attempts on CWR, coming from various sources, ranging from major publishers, sub-publishers, through various SaaS vendors to small publishers trying to create their first CWR file. And there were some acknowledgment files, as well as a couple of CWR-light files, which our validator does not process.

Uploads came from North and South America, Europe and Asia.

Of course, there were also a lot of files created by two of our free tools, EBR to CWR Converter and Minimal CWR Registration, although not nearly as much as one would expect, as both tools give good guidance to what a valid file looks like to those who are struggling with formatting.

While it is hard to say what a valid CWR file is, we have most certainly seen very little of them. Most of the issues can be divided into issues with formatting, usually occurring often throughout a file, and issues due to bad data, which usually affects only a small percentage of transactions (works).

Major publishers usually come close, with just an occasional error due to bad data. They have been setting standards what is acceptable to societies for years, so ‘close’ is good enough.

Acknowledgment files from societies usually do not come even close to being valid. Except if you think, as most societies do, that they are valid by default.

CWR files coming from a widely used desktop software are also in the ‘close enough’ zone, although it really depends on the validity of data. Until GDPR kicked in, we have not seen a file that is ‘close enough’ to being valid (acceptable by most societies) from any SaaS that sells ‘CWR registrations’, even if it is one of the most advertised features.

We literally opened every one of these files and tried to learn from them. And we included all this knowledge into our core library source code, which is the foundation of all the services and tools we provide, as well as our clients’ services.

While Minimal CWR is still completely free, old Visual CWR Validator and CWR Repair Tool have been replaced with four new tools, two of which are still free. Please refer to the Free Tools page for details.